FacingDisability.com has nearly 2,000 videos of family members answering real-life questions about how they cope with a spinal cord injury.
One of the questions we routinely ask is “What has been the most unexpected change in your life?” The answers are surprising. One of the unexpected findings we discovered during the hundreds of interviews we videotaped over the years, was that the life changes caused by the injury could ultimately be quite positive. The achievements after their injuries were often greater than they might have been if they were never injured at all. Here’s a sample of some interesting answers:
For parents – it can create another beginning
For siblings – the injury can bring jealousy, anger and guilt — but not forever.
Javier; sister injured at age 7 “Growing up, there was more attention coming to her. And when I was younger, I was kind of mad about it. But now…I mean, it happened, and obviously, she’s going to need more attention, more help, and my parents need my help.
Jennifer; brother injured at age 23 “I felt many times that I wish I had done something that night that would have changed the course of his evening. It was the week before Christmas — maybe if I had just called to ask about what some of his holiday plans were, maybe it would have offset the night five minutes or so; that would have changed it.”
And for children with a parent facing a new or established injury…
Elizabeth; father became paraplegic before she was born “My dad being the way he is has given me a direction in my life because I’ve always participated in and been curious to learn about the wheelchair, to ask about the disability.”
Jennifer; mother injured when she was 14 “I understood it on one level, but it was also very frustrating, I sort of felt like I have all these questions, and I’m a teenager, and I don’t understand, I don’t understand why it’s not about me. It was hard.”
Keeping an open mind and keeping up with therapies associated with spinal cord injury can make a huge difference in quality-of-life down the road. Many individuals are happy and living fulfilled lives with all levels of injury.
How has your life or the life of a loved-one changed as a result of paralysis? Feel free to leave your comments and insights.